Teen shone laser into helicopter

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A TEENAGER who shone a laser pen into a police helicopter walked free from Dewsbury Youth Court.

The 16-year-old had been expecting a custodial sentence.

But magistrates were told by a legal advisor that a fine was the only sentence the court could hand down.

The youth was fined £35 with a £15 victim surcharge for directing or shining a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot.

Admitting the offence, he told the court: “I’m sorry. It was stupid. I won’t do it again.”

Prosecuting, Mr Hussain said police were in the force helicopter over the Thornhill Lees area of Dewsbury when they became aware of a bright green flash which was very distracting.

The source was located and officers went to a children’s home in Thornhill Lees. The defendant, who was in his bedroom, denied having a laser pen but he was arrested for endangering an aircraft.

Mr Hussain said that throughout, he was smirking and smiling ‘as if the whole thing was a joke’.

“The defendant had earlier been seen with a laser pen in the care home,” he said. “Staff immediately knew who the police were looking for.

“But the defendant said police ‘would never find’ the pen.”

Defending, Rachel Mounsey said the defendant had not been smirking. “The smirk and smile are of a nervous nature,” she said.

“The offence was a naive experience. He knows he should not have had the pen in his possession.”

Miss Mounsey said before going into the children’s home, he had been involved in ‘a lot of offending’.

“But since he moved there his behaviour has improved. There has been no more trouble,” she said.

“He knows there is progress to be made and he is starting to restructure his life. He knows this was childish behaviour.

“It has been a punishment in itself coming to court thinking he was facing a custodial sentence.”